Youth Court is a peer court. Juvenile offenders are given the choice of appearing before the Youth Court or going to Jackson County Family Court. They will be Tried, Judged, Defended and convicted or exonerated by a court made up of other juveniles. The Youth Court will have guidelines established by adults. Adults will be available to monitor proceedings. However, the youth selected to serve the court will make the final decisions.
The primary goal of the Independence Youth Court is to reduce incidents of juvenile crime, divert offending youth from the Juvenile Justice System and to provide an alternative to the Jackson County Family court process and further contact with the police.
Most common cases heard in Youth Court are harassment, trespassing, shoplifting, curfew violation, disorderly conduct, vandalism, assault, truancy, minor in possession of alcohol, narcotics possession and runaways.
A youth choosing to appear before the Youth Court will be assigned a Youth Attorney, He/she will be tried by a Youth Prosecutor and finally he/she will be Judged by a youth Judge. If found guilty or if he/she pleads guilty the court may hand down a sentence of community service ranging from 10-100 hours, an essay, an apology letter and/or appropriate educational classes.
No fines or penalties will be imposed as long as the conditions set by the judge are satisfactorily completed.
This unique court serves the community in diverse ways. It educates youth to a better understanding of the laws and allows them to examine the workings of the Justice System. Problem youth with minor offenses are often overlooked but can be appropriately handled in this court, benefiting the community, the police and themselves.
If assigned sentence is fulfilled, all court records will be will be destroyed on his/ her seventeenth birthday. The offenders will be given the opportunity of being Judged by his/her peers.
Youth must be 13-18 years of age and a resident of the City of Independence, Missouri and attending a junior or senior high, public or private school.
Youths between the ages of 13-18 participating in the program as Youth Court personnel will receive an initial four (4) weeks of training by the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association. In addition the students must take and pass a Bar Exam and be sworn in to office by an adult Judge.
JUDGES Be able to preside over initial appearances and trials and to separate fact from fiction to give fair and just decisions. Should use good judgment in handing out sentences. Must have the same knowledge as attorneys and prosecuting attorneys.
PROSECUTING AND DEFENSE ATTORNEYS Responsible for investigations and preparation of all cases assigned to them, prosecuting and defending their case.
BAILIFF Minimize adult interaction and to make the system truly a "Youth" court. Responsible for recording attendance at court sessions precede the judge into council chambers, maintain order in the courtroom, call all court cases, permit no one to enter during the closed court, and call witnesses.
CLERK Responsible for keeping all records, assigning cases, making schedules and preparing paperwork on each case heard in court.
THE EXECUTIVE BOARD Responsible for general operation and supervision of the Independence Youth Court.
STEERING COMMITTEE Consists of three adults and two youths. They are responsible for day to day operations of the court. Shall select youths to serve on youth court, develop a course of study for personnel and be responsible for general supervision of training.
The Independence Youth Court is a cooperative project co-sponsored by the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association, the Juvenile Division of the Jackson County Family Court, the City of Independence, the Independence Police Department and the Independence School District. Youth Court is funded primarily by grants from the City of Independence. Local service organizations and the Truman Heartland Foundation also contribute funding. Independence Youth Court is also in large part funded by COMBAT. Jackson County's Community Backed Anti-Drug Tax.
111 East Maple Independence, Mo. 64050
Phone: (816)325-7750 Fax: (816)325-7749